Methodological choices, challenges and contentment.


Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


At this seminar, I will guide colleagues through the various methodological choices I made during my three-year PhD study, which explored perceptions of informal learning within the context of secondary music education. I will present a reflection on the methodological difficulties and break-throughs I had experienced whilst trying to navigate this fundamental but challenging area of my studies.

The PhD research was established within the qualitative interpretative paradigm and my epistemological perspective was inspired by both constructivist and social constructionist perspectives. I was also positioned as both an insider (due to my background as a secondary school teacher and musician) and outsider (due to my HE researcher identity). A two-phased research design was developed, defined by setting and participants. The first phase consisted of semi-structured interviews, and the second more substantial phase was based in case study schools. Methods implemented within the case studies included interviews, observations, document sources, focus groups and self-recorded diaries. A complexity was added to the second phase of the research, where teachers were invited to participate in elements of a co-research approach. How the approach was realised will be discussed at this seminar, along with the perceived gap between expectation and reality experienced.

Data was analysed thematically, and consideration of how this qualitative research can be seen as trustworthy will be presented. The seminar will conclude with a reflection on important ethical considerations made throughout – some which posed difficult dilemmas to be overcome. It is hoped that by presenting the methodological choices, challenges and contentment encountered during my PhD studies, colleagues will engage in dialogue and share their own experiences, as it is believed that much can be learnt from the experience of others.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes
EventSeminar Series - Faculty of Education, Edge Hill University, ORMSKIRK, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Sep 201930 Jun 2020


SeminarSeminar Series
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Music education


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